English 262                                                                                              Dr. Morillo

English Literature II                                                                                Section 005


Paper Topic For First Paper


All papers are due Thursday, Feb. 7, at the start of class.  Late papers that come in one class later will be automatically penalized by one letter grade and are strongly discouraged.  No papers will be accepted more than one class later.  Plagiarism is stealing so don't do it--anyone plagiarizing will receive an F for the paper.


You are to pick one of these questions and write a response in the form of a brief, well-organized essay.  Your paper will be at least 4 full pages and no more than 6 full pages, typed/computer-printed double-spaced, with standard margins (top & bottom=1” sides=1.25”).  Don't waste time summarizing the assignment itself by restating it fully--I know what it said.  The questions require no outside research but do require that you read the work in question carefully and think about your answer.  Be sure to put your name and section on each page, and please staple or clip the pages together.


Your paper needs to take the form of an argument.  I will look for your ability to answer the question by proposing a thesis, a specific claim that someone could disagree with, and then explaining and defending that thesis with evidence.  Your best evidence for whatever claims you make should come from the text itself, so each question asks you to find appropriate, specific examples from the text; however, remember that the more you quote directly from the text the more you are obliged to explain and make use of the quotation in your own argument.  For purposes of citation, since everyone is writing about the same book all you need to do is cite the Book of Gulliver’s Travels, and the page number.


If you wish to discuss your ideas with me before the paper is due I will be happy to talk with you in my office hours (see syllabus),or call 515-4163 if you can't make those times. 


1.  Does Gulliver learn anything as he moves from one voyage to the next?  Does his character change from Book I to Book IV?

If he does change, how would you describe what happens to him? Is there something that remains the same about him?


2.  Are all 4 books of Gulliver's Travels arranged according to any thematic organization?  Is there one particular, most important idea that Swift explores throughout the text?


3.  What do you think you, as reader, are supposed to think of those strange horse-like creatures, the Houyhnhnms, in Book IV?  How are we supposed to evaluate them?  Do they serve as an ideal? As something to be avoided?  How can you tell?


4. According to Swift, what does it mean to be human?  Is there a human nature?  Is Gulliver still human at the end of his story?